Can't use Devonthink Services in Mac on Catalina

Years ago I was all-in on Evernote, but came not to trust the platform, and since then I have been very curious about Devonthink, and I have finally taken the plunge. I have it installed on an old iMac running High Sierra and also on my work MacBook Pro, running Catalina.

The Devon services work in Mail on the iMac, but I get a “BOOP!” error sound when I them on the MBP. I hunted through permissions that might be the cause, but I didn’t find any unchecked boxes for Devonhink.

I am serious about Inbox Zero, and this workflow would be critical for me. Any Tips?

Thank you!


Which service did you actually try to use and what was selected in Apple Mail?

I was trying to use “Take Rich Note”, but I tried all of them, and none will run.

I am testing with an email message selected in the sidebar. If I open a message in its own window and make it active, there are no services available in the menu.

The Take Rich Note service requires a text selection, does it work after changing the complete message in the preview pane?

Welcome @jbhutt

Have you enabled the Automation and Full Disk Access options for DEVONthink in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy?

Ah, thank you, that makes sense! My expectations were off. I can select all and “Take Rich Note”, but it excludes the email header information that would be important for record keeping. I can create a Forwarded message and then select all, but that creates some additional formatting.

Is there a better way to do this? Is this what Devon Mail Plug-ins used to do?

See Help > Documentation > In & Out > Archiving Email. Note this requires the aforementioned preferences to be set and using the Pro or Server editions of DEVONthink 3.

You could also drag & drop the emails to DEVONthink.

Oh, right! That’s too easy!
I can drag it into the sorter or the dock icon.

Thanks so much everyone for your quick feedback!

Thanks! I do have Pro, and I have tested the “Archiving Email” process, but for some reason I considered that only for mass archiving. I’ll see if that works for me, too.

Ideally, it would be a keyboard command to send email to DT.


You can not only send mailboxes but also the selected messages to DEVONthink, see Email > Add to DEVONthink 3 in Apple Mail after installing the plugin.

No problem.
Again, see the Help as the Import sidebar has email archiving capabilities too. It also explains the difference between importing emails and archiving mailboxes.

Oh, right! Emails on Import sidebar all accessible. That’s rad!


I don’t see a “manage plugins” option in the General tab of preferences for Mail in Catalina, and I can’t seem to find any options by searching. Is it the plugin that makes the inboxes appear in the Devonthink Import sidebar?



Is your Home directory in the normal location on the boot drive?

Yes, my home directory is in the normal location.

To be clear, the Import sidebar in DevonThink is working as expected. Does that mean that the plugin is installed and working? I checked the Install Add-ons “Apple Mail Plugin” from the beginning. I don’t see any way to “manage” it on the Mail side.


This is an Apple issue. You can try this…

  1. Quit Mail.
  2. Open Applications/Utilities/Terminal
  3. Paste: sudo defaults write "/Library/Preferences/" EnableBundles 1
    You’ll need to enter your administrative password to do this.
  4. Type: exit and quit Terminal.
  5. Launch Mail and check the Preferences > General.

Success! I see the “Add to Devonthink 3” option in the Message menu now. That is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thanks so much–this took a lot of steps that I definitely would not have gotten through on my own.

I love how DevonThink provides so many different methods and flavors to working with email. I now have at least 5 different ways of clearing my email inbox.


You’re welcome :slight_smile:

Is having home directory on boot drive important ? I am having problems with mail importing and wonder if that is the cause. My home drive is on an external SSD Raid which is both very fast (Thunderbolt3) and also offers survival in case of failure.

Imac 2017, Catalina 15.5 Beta (to avoid the RAID bug on 15.4 - don’t normally use a beta on a production machine), DT3 PRO, using Apple Mail for mail handling/viewing. Have been using MailSteward for mail archiving (over 50,000 messages) but want to integrate into DT3.


[1] Install Add-Ons shows Apple Mail Plugin “installed” but greyed-out (screenshot attached). This is a licensed PRO version of DT3.

[2] In Mail, both Mailbox and Message do NOT have the expected “Add to DT3” - screenshots attached. I tried the sudo defaults write "/Library/Preferences/" EnableBundles 1 that you recommended, but no change.

[3] However, the Apple Script seems to work and deliver the mail to DT3, so I can certainly try out mail in DT3.

The core question is: is it essential to have the home directory on the boot drive in Catalina for DT3 to function. I understand that the actual databases can be located elsewhere. If this isn’t the cause of the missing Add-Ons could you suggest what might be the cause ?

Thanks very much,